June 4th, 2010
08:46 AM ET

A year after 'Muslim speech,' American Muslims press Obama to deliver

On the one-year anniversary of President Obama's address to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt, a coalition of American Muslim groups are pressing him to keep his pledge to make it easier for American Muslims to give to Islamic charities, a religious obligation called zakat.

Here's what Obama said on June 4, 2009:

... in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That's why I'm committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

The administration has done little to deliver on that pledge, so Muslim groups are urging American Muslims to call the White House today and hold its feet the fire. Here's a script that Muslim Advocates, an advocacy group attached to the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, is circulating among supporters:

Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I'm calling to ask President Obama to keep his promise made last year to remove hurdles to zakat, or charitable giving. As a [DONOR or NONPROFIT LEADER] many of these laws and policies have prevented me from giving charity. In particular, I am concerned about being investigated and prosecuted for giving in good faith.

• I ask the President to take measures to simplify the number of government lists I need to check in order to make a donation.

• I also ask the President to create legal protections to ensure that donors acting in good faith will not be investigated or prosecuted.

Thank you for your time. I will be keeping track of how the President honors his commitment to remove hurdles to zakat.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Islam • Politics

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soundoff (225 Responses)
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  3. nick

    Here's a story that illustrate what Islam is. In Malaysia which is majority Moslems and is considered "moderate" Moslem country, there's a big controversy involving the use of the word Allah (God). A Catholic publication has the audacity to use this word and as a consequence churches were burned and christians were attacked because moslems claim the word belongs to Islam. The funny thing is Allah is just an arabic word which has been used by christians to refer to God long before islam even existed

    June 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  4. stephen douglas

    There are a lot of decent, well meaning Muslims. Unfortunately, their leaders use them as expendable pawns, like advance foot soldiers to soften the enemy defenses. Then they send in the hard core combatants in the form of mullahas, imams, and extremists.

    The "holy" Qu'ran tells it's followers things like "...kill the pagen...' , "...smite the unbelievers...", "...fight in the cause of Allah...", "...the prophet does not burden himself with prisoners untli the people are subdued...", and "...we shall destroy them utterly...."

    What kind of teaching is this?

    Until Islam reconciles itself with the modern times, it should be outlawed. No Western or European nation should recognize Islam as a legitimate religion, just as the German government refused to recognize Scientology as a legitimate religion.

    And as for their duty to contribute to charity, every Muslim can donate to their mosque, so don't tell me they are unable to make donations to meet their religious obligations. Better yet, they can donate to organizations that help other Americans since so many of them claim the U.S. as their home. However, I don't think donations to non-Muslim charities count towards meeting their religious obligations because evidently helping people no matter what their race or creed is not worthy in the eyes of Allah the most merciful.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  5. Bob

    Islam = terror = evil.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Woodrow

    If the Moslem religion is so peaceful why do Moslems kill innocent people around the World Daily under the name of Allah ?
    Why don't you peaceful Moslems Speak out against these tragedies around the world. We do not hear you denouncing this kind of hate against innocent people. You keep quiet on these issues as if you condone these tragedies. From what I see Moslems are creating Hate and death all around the World. If you disagree please tell me why ?

    As far as charities goes I think that is a petty complaint compared to what you should be doing or saying in light of all other tragedies under the name of Allah......

    June 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  7. Jim

    Funny how Barry obuma can pronounce "zakat" but he calls the "Marine CORPSmen" the "Marine CORPSEmen" !!!

    June 11, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  8. nick

    Totallly agree with Islam being intolerant towards other religions. I am a Christian living in the US who grew up in Indonesia. The largest so called "moderate" Moslem country. Christians there are constantly harassed, intimidated, discriminated and not allowed to practice their faith freely and openly. They burn churches and make it extremely difficult to build new ones. Don't believe all this talk abt Islam as peaceful, tolerant religion. Moslems only behave that way when they are in the minority. Once they become majority watch out. If you care about your way of life, then you should care about this even if you are not religious.

    June 11, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  9. JM Pulido

    JM Pulido

    Yeah right,
    All that zakat money will continue going to finance Arab-Muslim-Islamic terrorist psychopath murderers who mercilessly kill and maim innocent people throughout the world.
    Instead of giving to terrorists via zakat, they should contribute financially to help the U.S. armed forces to help defeat Arab-Muslim terrorists and bring them to court for legal judgment. We are spending billions of dollars tracking and prosecuting these thugs and murderers and these people still want to give such thugs more money. This shows how much they hate this country because they don’t care if we go bankrupt while trying to protect the USA and the rest of the world from Arab-Muslim-Islamic terrorists. Their goal is to some day call the white House..."The White Mosque." Let's wake up and quit pretending there is no danger from Islamic harmful intentions toward this country. Every mosque is a potential sleeper cell. Their two minarets of every mosque remind me of the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center; they were destroyed by "peace-loving Islamic Muslims."
    To add insult to injury, they are building a sleeper-cell mosque across the street from ground zero. But most importantly, only Jesus Christ, the Son of God saves humankind. Mohammed was just a self-styled stand-up prophet, child molester-pedophile who lived and died like any other human being; he did not resurrect like Jesus Christ. President Obama, do not yield to terrorists' political pressure."

    June 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  10. Ben Cooper

    He has fulfilled his pledges to Muslims. He ramped up drone attacks by 100%.

    June 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  11. Abid

    Free money create problems. Charity is good , but it should be audited and controlled by the govenment.Demoracy is the best way to participate in goverment and it will help to maintain a system of our choice.God means goodness in you.where there is no goodness god do not stay.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  12. Abid

    Pay to the goverment. It is the biggest charity of all and participate in goverment by encorage democracy , values based politics and help to maintain peace in society .

    June 11, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  13. randy S

    Yes, by all means. Please make it easier for us to kill you.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  14. Bblove

    Thank God there's no state sponsored religion, the government would just corrupt it like everything else they touch.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • Gary

      Bblove ,all religions and religious leaders are already corrupt without the Government.....examples Jim Bakker T.D. Jakes Joel Osteen, Osama bin ladin, Jim Jones, The popes , Jimmy Swaggert, David Koresh, Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn... the list of corruption and deciet goes on and on...

      June 11, 2010 at 10:36 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.